by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, after meeting the Police in Bukit Aman on Thursday, September 28, 1995 at noon to present An Indictment of Police bias when investigating government leaders and police officers as compared to Opposition leaders:
Call on the IGP, Tan Sri Rahim Noor to rethink police philosophy which seems to deviate from being custodian of law and order and protector of the people to become a law unto itself
Yesterday evening, just before I left the DAP Hqrs for the Subang International Airport to catch a flight to Penang, I learn of the Bukit Aman police statement that I have been asked to give clarification to the CId Director. Datuk Mohd Said Awang on my statements calling on the police to withdraw the report against Irene Fernandez for criminal defamation, to co-operate in an independent inquiry into Tenaganita allegations about mal-treatment of Bangladeshi and other illegal immigrants in Imigration detention camps and for expressing my lack of confidence in the impartiality and independence of the Police when it has to conduct investigations involving government leaders and the Police.
I am always prepared to co-operate with the police in the public interest and I immediately cancelled my flight to Penang and phoned up Bukit Aman to contact as I was told CID director, Datuk Mohd Said Awang. I could not contact him as I was told he was playing golf.
I have this morning again phoned up the Bukit Aman offering immediate co-operation to explain why I have made the various press statements.
However I was told that Datuk Said Awang had gone to the Home Ministry for a meeting. However, I informed the Police that I would be coming over to Bukit Aman at noon.
I have presented an indictment of Police bias when investigating government leaders and police officers as compared to Opposition leaders and I had listed six charges in the Indictment.
I hope the Police would support my call for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the whole issue of Police bias when investigating government leaders and police officers as compared to opposition leaders and not obstruct the setting up of an independent inquiry, as the Police appears to be doing in connection with Tenaganita’s allegations about maltreatment of illegal immigrants in immigration detention camps.
In my three decades of public life, I have found that by and large, I have been able to co-operate with police officers on the basis of mutual respect, and I do not find much difficulty working with Police officers.
Recently, however, I have detected certain shift in police philosophy with the appointment of a new IGP, Tan Sri Rahim Noor.
While the former IGP, Tan Sri Haniff Omar was approachable and personable, Tan Sri Rahim Noor is aloof and even arrogant.
He has fostered an image of a tough cop, which is good for crime-busting. To smash gangs and bust gangsters, it is good to make the gangsters fear the IGP but it would disastrous if ordinary citizens come to regard the police force as no different from gangsters.
What is worrying is the increasing incidence of complaints by the public of police brutality as well as insensitivity to their rights – the most recent of which is a letter to the Editor of the New Straits Times about police round-up, roughening up and humiliation of members of the public at Taman Cuepacs in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, August 9, 1995 – where about 15 people at a teh tarik stall were rounded up by four policemen at 12.15 a.m. taken to the Batu 9 police station, where they were finger-printed and photographed like common criminals, and after four hours told to walk back to their homes at 4.30 a.m. over a distance of 3 km in the dark when there was no public transport service available.
Up to now, the Police has not been able to give any explanation or accounting for this shocking incident!
There is another area where the previous IGP is different from the present incumbent. Haniff tries, or at least gives the impression, that he is doing his utmost to keep the Police force away from Barisan Nasional politiking. Tan Sri Rahim gives a different impression – that he is sometimes in the thick of Barisan Nasional politicking, like the ASIS episode.
Furthermore, under Rahim Noor, there is also the impression that certain quarters, including the police, are engaged in a vendetta against DAP leaders, like the DAPSY National Secretary and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng and the former MP for Bukit Bintang, Wee Choo Keong.
I call on the IGP, Tan Sri Rahim Noor to rethink police philosophy which seems to deviate from being custodian of law and order and protector of the people to become a law unto itself, and all top police officers to fully realise that they are accountable for their actions to the people – not just the law, but to public opinion as well!